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Is God the Ultimate Software Engineer? (Some Thoughts on Intelligent Design)


Why doesn’t God do miracles all the time? Is there a reason that DNA literally functions as a data storage system? All of these things make sense when we consider that God is the ultimate engineer…or, more close to home for me, a software engineer.

Over the course of my career, I’ve written and worked on a wide array of projects…some big, some small, and some in between…but a few things remain true for all of them:

  • Each programming language has rules.  Each application has rules.  Rules/logic are the basis for anything in software.
  • Junk code will make your code either fail to compile, or fail to run (depending on the language)
  • If I as the engineer want to make changes to an existing application, a more organic approach is always going to be to use systems I already have in place, rather than write an entirely new feature that uses none of anything I already wrote.
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The universe works in much the same way, making me see my (much smaller software) projects as a mere shadow of the way God already does things…and this makes sense, as we are created in His image and were given a capacity to create, albeit on a far smaller scale than God’s.

  • There are rules and constants that govern the universe.  These are the basis for everything within it.
  • Junk code (think: mutations) will generally result in an organism being unable to reproduce or thrive.  Cancer, for example, generally starts as a mutation.
  • God doesn’t intervene in crazy and unnatural ways most of the time.  That’s why miracles are so amazing when they happen; they’re rare.  And even when God does miracles, how many times have we seen in the Bible that He chooses to use existing systems that are already in place?  Think: storms, fire, floods, etc.

Earth and universe

If any of the many rules and constants that govern the universe were even a little bit off, life as we know it could never be sustained.  All of the laws of physics, the size of the Earth, the speed of its rotation and revolution, the proportions of various gases that exist within our atmosphere, etc. all are very intentionally fine-tuned so as to support life.  Then, of course, we see even more fine tuning and evidence of design when we look at life itself!

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Beyond that…think of the USUAL result of mutations, when they happen in real life.  The first things that come to mind for most people when they think of the word “mutation” are problems, such as birth defects and cancer.  Most birth defects are not helpful to the people having them.  Being born without an arm, or without the ability to digest certain types of nutrition, etc. are not going to morph into helpful traits over time…especially seeing as before modern medicine, severe enough birth defects would have simply resulted in that person not being able to survive.  So, mutations, like junk code, are generally harmful, and not helpful.

Especially coming from a software engineer engineer perspective, it’s easy for me to appreciate why God doesn’t often choose to do huge, bombastic miracles and just “fix everything”.  Especially since He foreknew the result of His creation (that it would disobey Him and choose evil,) and His ultimate plan to redeem it, this suggests that He is fairly settled on letting things play out how they will with minimal intervention until the end times come.  That said…He does intervene, and when He does, it’s often through existing systems.  On a larger scale, that’s looked like weather patterns, fires, etc…but on a smaller, daily life sort of scale, that can look like God speaking to us by emphasizing certain sections of the Bible, pricking our consciences with the words of another or from a sermon or podcast, etc.  He’s already got these communication pathways set up…so, why not use them?

But when it’s all said and done, maybe I just like to think of God as a software engineer because taking this perspective is a way I can relate to, and more fully appreciate, more of who He is and what He does.  I can relate to what it’s like to try and conceptualize and organize abstract concepts in an attempt to eventually create something tangible and workable…and marvel when I see clear evidence of God having done that all around me.  I can stand in utter awe of God because He’s so SMART and figured out how to invent literally every structure, concept, universal law, etc. that exists, with zero precedents and also zero existing resources.

Perhaps, if you are more logic-minded like I am, this perspective speaks to you.  And if not, who do you have in your life who might benefit from seeing God’s work with a perspective like this?

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